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Book introduction

Blood Runs Cold – an E-book introduction

The Hive is live with its second offering “Blood Runs Cold”

It contains seventeen edge-of-the-seat thriller stories written by seventeen authors. -Ratnakar Baggi, Varadharajan Ramesh, Tina Sequeira, Sarves, Rashmi Agrawal, Srivalli Rekha Mantrala, Anshu Bhojnagarwala, Priya Bajpai, Sreeparna Sen, Christopher Dsouza, Aradhna Shukla, Ell P, Kanika G, Sheerin Shahab, Pranav Kodial, Pavan Kumar and Yours truly.💛💛

The efforts are being noticed and appreciated by well-established and well-respected writers like Neil D’Silva and Damyanti Biswas who have written the forewords for ‘Route 13: Highway to Hell’ and ‘Blood Runs Cold’ respectively.

With diverse voices on board each story has something for the readers.

Grab your copy of ‘BLOOD RUNS COLD’ from here:

http://mybook.to/BloodRunsCold

Fiction

Coming soon…a Thriller anthology you will love

#Project3 #TitleReveal #BookCoverReveal

Hi all, 

I am a contributing writer in this exciting venture by The Hive.

The Hive is a non-traditional publishing collective. The first anthology was Route 13: Highway to Hell, a horror anthology. 

The anthology experienced tremendous success. More than 200 copies were consumed by eager readers. It might seem like a small number, but it’s not. In the world of self-publishing, these are great numbers, especially for a brand new entity like The Hive. Route 13 topped the horror charts on Amazon new releases for a whopping 6 weeks in a row and remained in top 3 for more than 12.   

Now, The Hive launched #Project3. They invited submissions and nearly 50 entries were received.

All the entries were subjected to a stringent two-round selection process and SEVENTEEN stories were selected to be part of #Project3. I am elated that my story is a part of this exciting anthology.

#Project3 is ‘An Anthology to Thrill,’ and the seventeen stories are going to do exactly that – thrill you, the readers. It has stories about scorned lovers, devious criminals, supercops, sleuths, violence, blood, danger, suspense and, murder. You are going to enjoy this. 

Delighted and proud to present to you the title, cover and release date of #Project3. 

                        BLOOD RUNS COLD 

                    Book Release: 17/07/2020

Why July 17th? Well, it is a very significant day for crime and mystery. 

1. The Romanov family were murdered

2. Erle Stanley Gardner, author of Perry Mason, was born on that day

3. The 100-year war ended with the battle of Castille

4. July 17th is the Day of International Criminal Justice. 

I hope ‘Blood Runs Cold’ gets the same support and love which ‘Route 13: Highway to Hell.’ enjoyed. 

Enjoy!

Yatindra Tawde

Travel

Hampi, Anegundi, Aihole, Pattadakal, Badami Part 2

Day 3

After an exhausting day in Hampi, we decided to take it easy the next day. This decided our destination for the day, which was Anegundi. Anegundi is nearby, @  20 km. from Hampi instead of another exhausting drive to Aihole, Pattadakal and Badami, which involved lot of travel.

Instead of breakfast in the resort itself, we opted for a light one outside. So the driver took us to the same garden restaurant where we had lunch the previous day. While my wife had a simple sada dosa, I had Mysore masala dosa which was totally different from the one available in Mumbai and so mouth-watering.

Once the breakfast was done, we were on the way to Anegundi. We passed through the very common landscape of Hampi and it’s surroundings, the boulder strewn countryside with small, green fields sprinkled in between. These are the rice plantations interspersed with the banana ones.

 

For those who don’t know, Anegundi or Anegondi is the Kishkindha of Ramayana. Kishkindha was the capital of Vali, the Monkey King and his brother Sugreeva, who helped locate Maa Sita for Shri Ram.

 

We reached our first destination, the  Anjanadri hill. A small, whitewashed temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman is perched on the summit. The Anjanadri hill is a hill of huge boulders piled on top of each other. The driver told us that there are more than 550 steps to the top which seemed to be a daunting task. But we decided to brave it and were on the way.

 

It’s a relief that most of the initial climb is under covers, as there is a roof constructed over the stairs. But once you have crossed 1/3rd of the way, you are climbing under the direct sunlight and the steps become steeper. It is not for those with bad knees. We were apprehensive on this point, but thankfully our knees held up.

 

As one climbs higher and higher, the view below gets more enchanting, a chequered vista of green and brown, green of the rice fields and brown of the boulders.

 

So we proceeded with regular halts to catch our breath. I noticed one thing. When there are many people doing the same thing; here, climbing and halting to catch their breath, an unknown bond is formed with the fellow climbers, smiles are exchanged, they tell each other, where they come from, their immediate travel plans, etc.

Just before the last few steps to the top, you have to bend more than half of your body height to pass underneath a huge boulder which almost bars you from proceeding further. It’s as if the penultimate bow before the Lord before you are welcomed into his presence.P_20200306_113744

We left our footwear with an aged person who seemed to be appointed for just that. Since the month of March is not in the usual tourist season, there was not much of a crowd. 

We were soon inside the Hanuman Mandir. We had darshan and sat inside, meditating before the Lord. It’s a small mandir and the space inside is enough for just a handful of devotees. 

After 15-20 minutes of silent contemplation, we emerged outside to have a look at the surrounding landscape. And were we zapped with the beauty of the fields below!

If that is not enough, tall coconut trees line the green fields and narrow canals and lazy roads meander through them.

 

After spending about an hour and a half on the top, we started our descent. During the descent, the topmost steps were comparatively difficult due to the step height. But once we reached the covered steps, the final descent was a breeze.

When we reached at the bottom, we were surprised to see a lady hawker of bananas talking to the monkeys who surrounded her. Though we didn’t understand the language, we were sure she was admonishing them for being boisterous and naughty.

Talking of being boisterous, we were certainly not, after the vigorous exercise of the last 3 hours. Our battery was down and our driver wanted us to climb another small hill to go to another temple. We declined politely, praying before the hill with folded hands.

Next, he took us to the Laxmi mandir located on the bank of Pampa Sarovar. Pampa Sarovar is a small lake which is considered to be one of the holy lakes in India. It attracts a large number of pilgrims as well as tourists throughout the year.

It finds a mention in the Ramayana too as Lord Ram and his brother, Laxmana had passed through during their quest for Sita. It is the same place where Shabari waited with the berries to meet Lord Ram. 

Though we didn’t witness it, Pampa Sarovar becomes very picturesque during the season of lotus bloom, with the whole lake being filled with lotus buds.

The priest of the Laxmi temple was a Maharashtrian from the holy place of Pandharpur and we were pleasantly surprised when he started talking to us in Marathi as soon as he saw us enter. I was surprised and asked him how he knew that we too were Maharashtrians. He just smiled mystically and proceeded with his prayers.

Once we left from there we were feeling hungry and tired. We had lunch at the garden restaurant and then decided to rest at the resort in the afternoon.

After the siesta, my wife was still feeling exhausted so I proceeded alone, this time to the Tungabhadra dam. 

The Karnataka Government has made excellent arrangements for the tourists. They arrange regular bus trips to the top of the hill, which flanks the dam and also to a beautiful garden.

Once I got off from the bus, the silvery rays of the setting Sun, reflecting from the dam waters welcomed me.

The panoramic view from above gives a bird’s eye view of the surrounding plains. One can see many water canals below, taking the water to far off places. After spending about 45 minutes on the hilltop, I made my way back. I skipped the garden as I was alone and then returned back to the resort.

 

Thus ended the day. The next day was another day of long car rides and walking.

Yatindra Tawde

 

book review

Hiraeth – A book review

The first image that captures your attention is the apt artistic rendition of the message the author wants to convey. The tree symbolises the Indian subcontinent, rooted in the same culture but the ripped apart into two countries by a sudden cataclysmic event.

As you read the stories, you are drawn into the lives of ordinary human beings, pushed into facing sudden extraordinary circumstances.

If there are obnoxiously creepy individuals, trying to take undue advantage of unfortunate situations, there are people who have not lost their humanity in the face of the difficult times.

If there are people who lost their sanity, there are individuals who clung to some hope even in those trying times.

But finally these are heart rending stories of the common man whose destiny was so mercilessly turned upside down by fickle politicians looking for their self-aggrandizement.

As you read the stories, you cannot but admire the high level of research, the author, Dr. Shivani Salil, must have undertaken to meet such affected individuals and families who were caught in the turmoil of that unfortunate event of partition of a great country on the basis of religion.

I recommend this book for all those who were far removed from this page of history, especially the young generation which is separated by the many decades of freedom.

Yatindra Tawde

humour

The Bus

As man evolved, he understood that, compared to other animals, he was a weakling. This was apparent on his various hunting expeditions to provide food for his dependents.

In addition to many other parameters, he lacked in speed. Most of the time, his prey galloped away or ran away, and he was left panting by the wayside.

Thus his need to domesticate various other animals like the horse to gain speed. This was his preferred means of transport, whenever he needed to travel faster, till the industrial revolution, when mechanised vehicles were introduced in the form of cars.

But these cars ran on petrol or diesel which were in short supply, hence expensive.

He felt the need to transport a larger number of people at a time and thus a bus was born. Though it ran on the same expensive fuel, the higher numbers it carried made it economical. But this dependence on buses and cars for faster travelling meant burning of the highly polluting fuels which became one of the major factors of global warming.

Thus started the search for cleaner and inexpensive energy sources.

Electrical energy is cleaner and today it is taking baby steps towards electric cars but there are other cheaper energy sources too, on which buses and cars can run. Like CNG, LPG, etc. but man is never satisfied.

Which brings us to the news which I read today.

It seems UK has taken a very important step where they have test driven a bus run by poo.

Poo, did I say!

Coming to think of it, it certainly would be inexpensive as it gets generated regularly, mostly every morning. Of course, there are those unique specimens who generate it untimely. And then there are few who fall ill and cannot hold it in and have to rush to generate.

There are enough species who do this extremely important social work day in and day out and contribute to reducing the global warming. My salutations to the scientists who conceived this unique energy source, based on methane conversion.

The day is not far, when this poo generation takes the form of an industry where various species are lined together every morning to generate energy for the ever growing vehicle numbers.

Already I see the importance of certain middle Eastern countries going down and corresponding elevation of another country which already has such an industry lining the huge network of railway tracks all across the length and breadth of its vast geography. It just needs to be tapped and exploited in a proper way.

Yatindra Tawde

Uncategorized

The Legend of the Egg

It’s said that Social Media is a world of’likes’ and’dislikes’. But in this world, these words are in their sillier avatar.

But that is expected to happen when people can socialize only by ‘liking’ or ‘disliking’. Nowadays ‘likes’ have taken the form of ‘love’ which is denoted by a red heart. Whereas ‘dislike’ has taken an ugly turn in the form of ‘troll’.

But today we will concentrate on’likes’ since recently it was in the news.

A puny brown egg; yes brown, for the racially sensitive, managed to dethrone the current queen of social media, on one of the social apps.

Now, anyone would wonder how can people like a photo of a humble egg, that too in such large numbers. After all, it is meant for creating a life or feeding someone. Why would anyone give it so much importance?

This Eggegend; that’s my word for the egg legend, it gave me sleepless nights. And a depleted breakfast, as I couldn’t bring myself to cannibalize a legend in the making, or rather a legend already made.

So my research started and where did I roam on the big, bad Earth for doing this research?

Nothing like what you would imagine.

I spread myself on my sofa after eating an eggless cake, which served two purposes. One, I was eating an vegetarian snack and second, I was respecting a legend.

While I lazed on the sofa, my mind was concentrated on the search engines which chugged across the pad screen.

And lo and behold!

There was this story of an Indian teenager who was the mastermind of this whole saga. And this was a proud moment for patriotic me.

This is his story –

He clicked an enticing photo of the brown egg, which did all the hard work of posturing before a DSLR camera. The teenager too, did not leave any egg…er… stone unturned, to capture the historic moment on camera. With just the right lighting and innumerable captures.

Finally he was ready to challenge the reigning queen.

The next step was to share his invaluable capture on the same photo sharing app, the fiefdom of the Queen.

And then the masterstroke!

Appeal to the empathetic feelings of the people; their propensity to support the underdog. So the photograph was captioned, ‘Let’s make the Egg the most liked on this app and challenge the reigning Queen!’. And the public did the rest.

And the rest is history.

Today this photograph is the most liked after dethroning the Queen and still counting the likes.

All hail the Eggegend!

Yatindra Tawde

humour

Aliens Indeed

 

The cute fellows waddle across the snow in their funny walk. They are Romeo and Juliet. If one didn’t know better, you would mistake them for lawyers in their black coats. Well not really. The lawyers don’t look cute from any angle. Is that a politically incorrect statement? I don’t know.

T०he two of them serenade each other, Juliet smiling coyly at Romeo. Suddenly Adam remembers, or rather his overworked intestines remember that he has had a bit too much to eat and he feels the sudden urge. Giving a constipated smile to Eve, Adam excuses himself, finds his lonely spot and relieves himself. He is done and dusted but here’s where the dominant species called a Human makes his appearance. 

He takes a sample of the droppings and Lo and Behold. He has found traces of a chemical which has extra-terrestrial origins. A chemical known as Phosphine.

And where is Phosphine mainly found? It is found on the planet Venus. Or more correctly, it is found in the layers of gas surrounding the planet Venus.

Now, the Humans speculate that, since the droppings are of Penguins, the Romeo and Juliet of our story, the Penguins must be aliens.

So friends, it was a myth that Women are from Venus. It was the Penguins all along.

 

Yatindra Tawde

Image courtesy- unsplash.com and Paul Carroll

book review

To kill a Mockingbird

 

Author – Harper Lee
Publisher – Arrow Books, The Random House

No. Of pages – 309

The children, Scout Finch and Jem Fincher and their creative friend, Dill have loads of fun and suddenly one is sucked into their lives. They enjoy themselves walking to and from the school, and you recall your own childhood. They make fun of their teachers and have their petty fights among themselves. While Jem progresses from a naughty boy to an early teen trying to show maturity, Scout, his younger sister continues to be her feisty self. In fact, she is the protagonist and the entire story unfolds from her point of view.

The denizens of Maycomb, where they live with their Lawyer Father, Atticus, go about their daily lives and one gets a glimpse of America in the 30’s. Or at least, a town in America in the 30’s. Or, the lives of a people in a town in America in the 30’s. It is a town in Southern America and an undercurrent of racism runs through the entire novel, some characters in the story for it while many against. But the children’s innocent life is always in the foreground. And you never realize that Harper Lee has actually dwelled upon the principles of humanity itself by tackling the serious topic of racism in the most subtle manner while you are charmed by the spunky and guileless children.

What stays with you, long after you have finished the novel, is the fact that Harper Lee has conjured up a mind grabbing story using humour and simple language.

Yatindra Tawde

 

humour

The Instrumentals

The atmosphere was electric. The orchestra had reached its crescendo. It was a potpourri of the different musical instruments playing in close coordination. There was the tabla maestro going tad-kitta-dha in a staccato rhythm. Giving him company was the sitar player with his tiaon-tiaon causing cramps in his arms. Competing against him was the guitar player, who had added a metallic tinge to his instrument. The flute player added the calming notes. But he was almost drowned out by the drums who were in majority. The players who had opted for peaceful instruments like the harp and the piano were overshadowed by the violins, trumpets and saxophones. And in all this, the poor traffic police was at his wits end, though he tried to play his part as the Conductor in earnest.

You would think, Where did that last statement come from, out of the blue? What has a traffic police got to do in an orchestra? Well, this may soon be the case in India, if what I read today in the newspapers, comes true. The traffic jams across the Indian cities would see such scenarios on a regular basis. For there is a proposal from the authorities to make the vehicle horns sound like different musical instruments.

The day is not far when a different kind of talent hunt is launched on OTT platforms in India for car horn orchestras.

Yatindra Tawde

Photo – by Mario LA Pergola on unsplash.com

Fiction, humour

The Master Piledriver

First posted at ArtoonsInn. The writing prompt had five distinct words which had to be incorporated into a story which I attempted…

Abhay  cautioned his friend, “Shhh, Rakesh…here comes The Master. Stand up, bow and then kneel. Remember, you have to stay on your knees for the entire session.”

“I know, I know. You don’t have to remind me. Kneeling on my knees for so long would be torturous. But I now ready to do anything for curing my piles. I am just too wabbit. I can most certainly exchange a few hours of pain in my knees with the pain in my…”, Rakesh whispered.

“Shhh…no bad words please. The Master is capable of curing all ailments of his true disciples. One can feel the Aura as soon as he makes an entry into the room. Don’t you feel it?”, Abhay said.

“Yes, yes. Whatever you say. But what is the quid pro quo?”, asked Rakesh.

“Now what is that, Rakesh. You do have a penchant for talking in riddles. Always flaunting your elite upbringing  aren’t you?”, Abhay asked sarcastically.

“OK, let me put it bluntly for you my friend. What is The Master expecting in return for curing me? He must want or seek something,  isn’t it? I am surprised he doesn’t take any donations from his disciples”, Rakesh wondered loudly.

“The Master is the most enlightened being in this entire Firmament. This is his lila. This world is his stage and we are the players. Be patient.”, Abhay admonished his friend.

“Means? Like a drama? What are we supposed to do? I can’t act, damn it. Let’s get out of here, Abhay. Enough of spirituality for me. I will again meet the Doctor. A different one perhaps but not this, please”, uttered a panicky Rakesh.

“I said, be patient. Your impatience is now getting on my nerves. You will not be required to act in a drama. No one knows what The Master will come up with. Let’s wait and watch”, Abhay comforted his friend.

“Now what are these people bringing? What are those shiny things? Oh my God. Swords! Is it allowed?”, asked a perspiring Rakesh.

“Umm…seems to be so. Oh no, I think these are machetes”, Abhay enlightened.

Whatever man. They look too sharp. What will The Master make us do now? Are we supposed to duel with each other? Don’t swing too hard at me Abhay, someone might get hurt”, a visibly concerned Rakesh blurted.

“You and your imagination. I would never have brought you here but you were insistent. Now please keep your nerves and sit tight”, Abhay admonished his friend.

“I am sitting tight since long. Oh, it’s pains so much, I have to sit tight. And why are these attendants keeping the machetes with the edge up, on the floor? What are they going to do now? And why doesn’t The Master speak? Is he on Maun Vrat?”, Rakesh rattled on.

“Shh…look, The Master has opened his eyes. That means he is ready to speak. Please concentrate now. Look at that miracle, his attendants are walking on the matchete edge. Wow!”, a truly Mesmerized Abhay spoke to himself.

“Look, The Master is watching everyone. Be prepared, he will ask anyone randomly. You might be the lucky one”, Abhay continued.

“Yes, vatsa. What ails you? Whatever it is, please share your troubles with me. Trust me. And you won’t be disappointed”, so spake The Master finally.

“Pssst…Rakesh, it’s you he is asking.  Oh, you are so blessed.”

“Master, I suffer from piles. And it pains; I am not able to sit for long.” Rakesh was blunt and to the point.

“Come my friend. Come near me. While coming, please do walk on this pathway. Just like you saw my attendants do. Assure you that you will forget your piles suffering in a jiffy”, said The Master with a beatific smile.

“Whaat? What do you want me to do? This is impossible. Abhay! You be happy with this nonsense. I am not going to walk on blades to cure my piles. I am going…”, thundered a flabbergasted Rakesh.

“But…but, Rakesh. Please wait.  Don’t insult The Master thus. Wait…I said wait”, cried Abhay.

 

humour, science

An Egg, 1000 year old

The first thought that came to my mind, when I read about it is, ‘Would the chick hatched out of a thousand year egg be 1000 year old?’ Such profound thoughts do cross my mind, once in a while.

Recently the Israel Antiquities Authority discovered a fully intact egg from 1000 years ago during excavation at a town named Yavne. But how did it manage this era defining journey of 1000 years. Did it travel by a time machine? Well, there was no such adventure. The archeologists say that the reason for it being so perfectly preserved is that it had made a soft landing. It was pillowed in soft human poop inside a 1000 year cesspit. How it managed to end up there, in the first place, is not yet known.

Surprisingly they were also able to recover some yolk, which has been preserved for DNA analysis in future. I can imagine some chicks and cocks flaring their feathers in anticipation of their unborn ancestor. The human cesspit does have its uses, though a trifle smelly.

Yatindra Tawde

science, Uncategorized

Magnetism

Ability to attract is known as magnetism. Ferrous materials are known to be magnetic. Are humans magnetic?

Over the years humans are known to have displayed magnetic properties but they were quite uncommon. In the olden times, before the television and movie era, when human circuses were one of the entertainment options, such rarities were displayed to the watching public. People paid to gawk at them. Such human magnets were made to sit in cages with an assortment of spoons, nails and the like sticking to their bodies. It is also possible that the paying public were fibbed off by glueing the spoons and nails to the body of some poor fellow desperately in need of cash.

Many things have happened to people after taking the covid vaccination. Some unfortunate fellows with comorbidities didn’t benefit from the vaccination and they fell prey to the dreaded disease. Some had side effects, mostly mild but sometimes serious. While some had mild fever, body aches and headaches, some had to deal with blood clots.

But today I read that one person in India has turned magnetic after the vaccination and I was zapped.

How can someone turn magnetic after vaccination which is actually administered to repel something sinister?

So, the news channels are running a clip on loop where a man wearing a vest, stands with many spoons and coins sticking to his arms, chest and back.

Can this really happen? Well, watching the video one is tempted to believe. But is there another angle to it? Was his body magnetic before the vaccination, but he came to know only now? But he is a senior citizen, could have known it before. Is he a publicity hound? Doesn’t seem so…

So while the concerned authorities and doctors study his case to find out, a strange fear gnaws my mind. After all, my second vaccination is due in a few days…

 

Yatindra Tawde

book review

White as milk and rice – A review

Book title – WHITE AS MILK AND RICE

Author – Nidhi Dugar Kundalia
Publisher – Penguin Random House India

No. Of pages – 241

Frankly, when I went for this book, my expectations were different. I don’t know why but I had thought that the book will have stories from mythology of the various tribes of India.

But once I had read through the introduction by the author, I grasped that it was going to be something totally different from my initial expectations.

There are six stories but each story takes you to a different territory in the vast expanse of India, ranging from the hills of South India, the chambal ravines in the west, the forests of Central India and finally culminating in the North East.

You peek into the ordinary lives of some extraordinary tribals and the back stories of the protagonists and their tribes enrich your knowledge of many aspects of their history. Their daily struggle to keep their unique culture alive amidst the all encompassing march of modern life is what enriches the stories to the next level.

By the time you reach the end of the book, you know something more about the Halakkis, the Kanjars, the Kurumbas, the Marias, the Khasis and the Konyaks. And wonder whether they have lost their heritage or are we, the so-called modern denizens of this world, the real losers.

The author injects charm and pathos into each story.

A Common thread which runs through all stories is how the tribals take only that much from the forest, as is required for survival and don’t exploit it for greed.

I must thank the author, Nidhi Dugar Kundalia, for staying in their midst for a long time and documenting a vanishing way of life, weaving charming stories and enriching us, the lay readers.

Yatindra Tawde

 

humour

Videographically yours

In today’s time of constant exposure to the social media, the making of pre-wedding videos at most of the picnic spots around town is trending.

Whenever I visit a lake in our vicinity, I happen to encounter atleast one such photographer and his client couple. While I hope to see pristine nature at the lake, my senses are assaulted by these over-enthusiastic photographers. Okay, if they just click the photos and get the dirty deed done with and vamoose from the spot, it would still have been okay. But they want to assault the early morning walkers, joggers and pranayam enthusiasts with the most acrobatic pyrotechnics.

One such client couple had come dressed in their best Western wear, the girl in a flowing gown while the guy was in a suit. Now, since she had worn a flowing gown she had brought along her friend to hold and manage it. Mind you, this is the hardest job, for the gown has to be kept away from the morning job of some random dog, in addition to ensuring that the would-be bride doesn’t trip on its flowing folds. The would-be bride was also most conscious of her makeup, her dress and her appearance. Running her hand through her hair and adjusting her dress, she needed her friend’s continuous barrage of words of support and encouragement.

The guy in suit knew who was the center of attention and watched his would-be wife with a blank expression. 

The photographer, on the other hand, was enthusiasm personified. With the continuous contortions of his body to capture the best shots, I don’t think he would need to join a gym or do yoga to keep himself fit. Sometimes he went on his haunches while sometimes he lay flat on his stomach while holding the camera near his eyes.

Another trend is for would-be mothers to get their videos done. For such videos, various props are very important and the photographers use the most ridiculous ones. Baby clothes are one such. Then there are the toys, dolls,  etc. Once I saw a would-be mother displaying baby shoes near her face, which was tilted at angle.

So friends, those who are at that stage in life, what are your plans? Do share your thoughts.

Yatindra Tawde

memories, Sports

The Tall Little Master

The brisk walk to the crease, the floppy hat, the swinging of arms and we were all excited that a new test match was about to commence.  And happy that India had won the toss and elected to bat, awaiting another great innings from Sunil Manohar Gavaskar. Once the guard was taken, we were treated to that most balanced stance in world cricket. No extra movement, no nervous twitch, only a strong desire to enter the ‘Zone’ as fast as possible. Even the bat lift was bare minimal.

The fast bowlers he faced were tearaways, just the sight of them running in to bowl used to put the fear of God in the best batsmen. Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Colin Craft, Malcolm Marshall of the West Indies, Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thompson of Australia, Bob Willis of England, Richard Hadlee of New Zealand,  Imran Khan of Pakistan, such was the undoubted pedigree of those days. And more often than not, Gavaskar trumped them all.

Here he was, ready to put them to test, a test of their patience,  a test of their skills. Ball after ball was met with a straight bat, waiting for them to falter in line and length, waiting for them to tire out and then the full range of elegant strokes were unfurled. If the forward defensive stroke was serene then the cover drive was sheer poetry in motion. And those straight drives, with the head perfectly still; one would be ready to go to any part of the world to enjoy watching.

He was the world record holder for the most number of centuries in test cricket but some of them made a lasting impression. He had announced his arrival on the world cricket scene like a Boss against the mighty West Indies with 3 centuries and a double, so much so that a calypso song was written on his ability to go on and on. Or rather, the inability of the West Indian bowlers to get him out. The innings of 221, batting in the Fourth innings against England brought India tantalizingly close to a memorable victory which  was not to be. It continues to be my personal favourite. The 236 not out against West Indies in India was memorable,  being his record breaking 30th century when he broke the long standing record of the great Don Bradman. The 127 vs Pakistan in Pakistan was in a lost cause as the other Indian batsmen were no match to the guiles of Imran Khan and Sarfaraz Nawaz. And finally, the almost century, an innings of 96 under the most challenging conditions in Bangalore vs Pakistan in his last test match. He retired while still at the top of his game.

Though his ODI career pales in comparison to his Test career, he still had his moments under the sun. From the tortoise paced innings of 36 not out he played in a world cup match to the pinnacle, when he led India  to triumph in the World series of cricket in 1985 interspersed with a World Cup victory under Kapil Dev in 1983, he saw the highs and lows of Indian ODI history.

He was without a century at the Lord’s during his Test career, but he made amends when he played an innings of 188 in the MCC Bicentennial match at Lord’s in 1987, while playing for Rest of the World eleven after his retirement.

Gavaskar inspired a sense of confidence in the Indian test cricket team that they could face the best opposition on equal terms.

Yatindra Tawde